DigitalK Leaders | 5 questions with Jeffrey Smith, Co-founder & CEO of Smulе

18 April

Digital|K Leaders invites key speakers to share their thoughts on digital transformation. The first to answer our 5 questions is Jeffrey Smith - Co-founder & CEO of Smule - an American mobile app developer headquartered in San Francisco. The company specializes in developing social music-making and collaboration applications.


How do you see the world in 5 years?


My hope is more art and less violence. On a typical day with Smule, millions of people across the world sing and play songs, together. It doesn't matter where they live or what they might believe. Electrons don't know when they "cross a border". Similarly music and songs.  


How much “digital” is there in your daily life?


Too much perhaps. I usually start the day on the piano. I'm working on some Bartok pieces now -- Op 14. I end the day on my phone, checking last minute work emails, confirming my calendar for tomorrow, or playing chess.  


Is “digital” a threat or an opportunity? Why?


Since the invention of the recording 130 years ago, musical creation and participation a taken a back seat to streaming and music consumption. Previously, to experience music, you played or sang or took the train to the concert. Now you just plug in your headphones. With Smule and iPhones (e.g. digital), we've built new applications that bring music back to its roots as more of a participatory, creative medium: you play, sing, and rap vs simply kick back and stream. So ultimately while recordings decimated musical literacy, now technology has the opportunity to rebuild a new literacy in music. Having said as much, I admit I recently apologized to both my piano and voice professors at Stanford for creating Smule. Our Smule Singing App allows you to use filters to correct pitches or sing in tune, and Magic Piano allows you to play "Fur Elise" by Beethoven without practicing the piano.    


Where does the digital transformation for a company begin?


I believe it began with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and the AppStore in 2008. Smule was founded a few months before the creation of the AppStore.


What do you plan to transform at DigitalK Conference 2019?


I want to do a deeper dive on why people engage in music using data science and massive data sets, leveraging my research at Stanford and my experience at Smule. The goal: learn how we can motivate more people to engage in creating music, as well as to foster awareness onto how much we are able to accomplish thanks to our Sofia based team.



Jeffrey Smith can be your future mentor for 2 days straight at DigitalK Conference 2019!

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